Today in History

Today is Sunday, Feb. 14, the 45th day of 2021. There are 320 days left in the year. This is Valentine's Day.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Feb. 14, 2018, a gunman identified as a former student opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School near Fort Lauderdale, Florida, killing 17 people in the nation's deadliest school shooting since the attack in Newtown, Connecticut, more than five years earlier.

On this date:

In 1778, the American ship Ranger carried the recently adopted Stars and Stripes to a foreign port for the first time as it arrived in France.

In 1876, inventors Alexander Graham Bell and Elisha Gray applied separately for patents related to the telephone. (The U.S. Supreme Court eventually ruled Bell the rightful inventor.)

In 1912, Arizona became the 48th state of the Union as President William Howard Taft signed a proclamation.

In 1920, the League of Women Voters was founded in Chicago; its first president was Maud Wood Park.

In 1929, the "St. Valentine's Day Massacre" took place in a Chicago garage as seven rivals of Al Capone's gang were gunned down.

In 1945, during World War II, British and Canadian forces reached the Rhine River in Germany.

In 1967, Aretha Franklin recorded her cover of Otis Redding's "Respect" at Atlantic Records in New York.

In 1979, Adolph Dubs, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, was kidnapped in Kabul by Muslim extremists and killed in a shootout between his abductors and police.

In 1984, 6-year-old Stormie Jones became the world's first heart-liver transplant recipient when the surgery was performed at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh (she lived until November, 1990).

In 1989, Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini called on Muslims to kill Salman Rushdie, author of "The Satanic Verses," a novel condemned as blasphemous.

In 2013, American Airlines and US Airways announced an $11 billion merger that turned American into the world's biggest airline.

In 2019, William Barr was sworn in for his second stint as the nation's attorney general; he succeeded Jeff Sessions, who'd been pushed out of office by President Donald Trump after Trump denounced Sessions' decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation.

Ten years ago: President Barack Obama unveiled a $3.7 trillion budget plan that would freeze or reduce some safety-net programs for the nation's poor but turn aside Republican demands for more drastic cuts to shrink the government to where it was before he took office. Protesters took to the streets in Iran, Bahrain and Yemen, inspired by the popular uprising in Egypt that brought down President Hosni Mubarak. The TV game show "Jeopardy!" began airing the first of three episodes pitting human players Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings against an IBM computer named "Watson." (Watson ended up winning with a cumulative total of $77,147 versus $24,000 for Jennings and $21,600 for Rutter.)

Five years ago: Pope Francis condemned the drug trade's "dealers of death" and urged Mexicans to shun the devil's lust for money as he led a huge open-air Mass for more than 300,000 people in the poverty-stricken Mexico City suburb of Ecatepec (EHK'-ah-teh-PEHK'). The first NBA All-Star Game outside the U.S. was the highest-scoring ever, with the West defeating the East 196-173 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

One year ago: A Chinese health official said more than 1,700 medical workers had been infected by the coronavirus, and six had died. Egypt confirmed its first case of the new virus, which had infected more than 64,000 people globally. After being stranded at sea for two weeks because five ports refused to allow their cruise ship to dock, passengers cheered as they left the MS Westerdam in Cambodia; the Holland America Line had said no cases of the virus had been confirmed among passengers and crew. (An 83-year-old American woman who was on the ship and flew from Cambodia to Malaysia was later found to be carrying the virus.)

Today's Birthdays: Actor Andrew Prine is 85. Country singer Razzy Bailey is 82. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is 79. Jazz musician Maceo Parker is 78. Journalist Carl Bernstein is 77. Former Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., is 74. TV personality Pat O'Brien is 73. Magician Teller (Penn and Teller) is 73. Cajun singer-musician Michael Doucet (doo-SAY') (Beausoleil) is 70. Actor Ken Wahl is 64. Opera singer Renee Fleming is 62. Actor Meg Tilly is 61. Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Kelly is 61. Singer-producer Dwayne Wiggins is 60. Actor Sakina Jaffey is 59. Actor Enrico Colantoni is 58. Actor Zach Galligan is 57. Actor Valente Rodriguez is 57. Former tennis player Manuela Maleeva is 54. Actor Simon Pegg is 51. Rock musician Kevin Baldes (Lit) is 49. Rock singer Rob Thomas (Matchbox Twenty) is 49. Former NFL quarterback Drew Bledsoe is 49. Actor Danai Gurira is 43. Actor Matt Barr is 37. Actor Stephanie Leonidas is 37. Actor Jake Lacy is 35. Actor Tiffany Thornton is 35. Actor Brett Dier is 31. Actor Freddie Highmore is 29.